Late Evening

s. k. nicholas

S. K. Nicholas

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How many cigarettes do you have left? One for you and two for me, right? On a scale of one to ten, how bad do you feel? Ignoring the mask you wear, what thoughts run through your head as you lie there at night dreaming of a life you’ve never known? Cut the crap and be honest, just for once, maybe? You write such charming poetry, and charming is your face to match, but nobody likes a liar. Drinking from our cans of Stella, we wander down alleys and trawl through fields using the lights of our phones to guide the way. Giddy like fairies we stumble around block after block laughing at how pointless it all is, but don’t ignore the question. Tell me. No, don’t feed me your chips, and don’t try slipping your hand into mine. Despite my drunken state, I want to know what’s going on…

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little robin red

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the little robin perches
in contended peace
atop his bouncy branch.
all the robins know it –
that branch is his.
it’s his home, his castle,
his sanctuary.
there, he is lord
and leader,
king and commander.
this branch, in its frailty
is to the timid robin
what the great mast
of the Cutty Sark
is to the gulls of Greenwich,
and the peaked hat of Nelson
on his marble column
is to the pigeons of Trafalgar.
his tower,
his fortress –
where nought but the weather
can get to him.

she

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she was in possession
of a little more than her male counterparts.
she was different,
she had a little extra –
a little something
that they did not.

she stored it by nature,
by the way of the world
and the liquid of language.
it was sat within her skin
and washed along her breath.

she curved over paper
like a tired snake,
charmed by those who spoke
or wrote of her.

and yet, when her fingers
laid pen to parchment
in discussion of herself,
the ink did not identify her
as woman.

she wrote, simply, ‘i.’

the laundrette

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the washing machines were all being used tonight,
when we lugged our worn-out laundry bags
across the courtyard,
once we’d willed ourselves to move from the bed
and rifle through our dirty washing
to find those items most treasured
and toss back into the ripe abyss
those garments only necessary
when literally nothing else remained
or we found an extra pound on the ground
with which to pay for its cleansing.

but they were all in use.

so instead,
we lay on the sofa and tried to count down
the entrance of the next laundry-doer.
heads, they were here to empty –
tails, they left disappointed,
clutching stinking socks and spattered shirts.
a silly game
but it passed the time.

on a sad evening

though i flounder and fret
at rejected invites
and ignored smiles,
laughter through the wall
that taunts and teases
with its happy lining
existing
out of reach

though my eyes search
like high beams
for those who can climb aboard,
hold my hand
and live for me
when i fail to do so –

when i rest my head,
they cannot watch my dreams
as i do.

though i sit on a tightrope
suspended over an empty room

perhaps the producers
will fill it with books,
if i ask them nicely